Wrestling Star Sues Sheriff Over Son's Death

Jerry Lawler's son died last year
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2019 5:15 PM CDT
WWE's 'King' Sues Sheriff Over Death of Son
Professional wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler stands on the court during a break in play in the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Jerry "The King" Lawler of WWE fame lost his son last year—and the wrestler blames the Hardeman County Sheriff's Department in Tennessee. Lawler is suing the department over Brian Christopher Lawler's death at age 46; he hanged himself in his jail cell after he was arrested for DUI and evading police. Lawler's attorney tells TMZ that Brian suffered from depression and told officers of two previous suicide attempts he'd made, in 2013 and 2015. But, the attorney says, authorities failed to protect Brian from himself and also refused to get him medical help after he was attacked by another inmate, suffering a possible concussion and other injuries to his head and face. After the attack, he was placed in solitary confinement in a cell with two large bolts sticking out of a high point on the wall; his shoes and shoelaces were left on, and he used the laces to hang himself from the bolts.

In the lawsuit, which seeks more than $3 million in damages that would be put toward supporting Brian's son, Lawler says he met with the sheriff while Brian was in jail and talked to him about Brian's problems. Lawler says he was "promised" his son would get drug and alcohol treatment, and so Lawler decided not to bail him out; per WREG, Lawler says the sheriff promised him to keep Brian safe. But, per the lawsuit, Brian ultimately received no treatment. The lawsuit also claims Brian cried out for medical assistance before his death, asking to be taken to a hospital multiple times over a six-hour period, but never received medical attention. It claims a correctional officer saw Brian in the corner of his cell with a towel over his head at one point, but didn't check on him until after taking out the garbage; by the time he finally did check on him with the help of a coworker, they realized Brian had hanged himself—but, the lawsuit says, the jail only had children's scissors available to cut him free. (Read more lawsuit stories.)

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